Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova Dies - Balkan News & Politics

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Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova Dies

Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova Dies

· 2 · 1524

  • Postime: 27102
  • Karma: +11/-5
  • Gjinia: Mashkull

ne: 23-01-2006, 06:30:11
21 January 2006 Ibrahim Rugova, president Kosovo, has died of lung cancer at the age of 61.

Rugova's spokesman, Muhamet Hamiti, said the president died shortly before midday in his residence in the region's capital, Pristina.

Rugova, a chain-smoker, was diagnosed with lung cancer in September 2005.

Rugova had been at the forefront of ethnic Albanian demands for independence from Serbia since the early 1990s, when he led a nonviolent movement against the policies of Slobodan Milosevic, the then president of Yugoslavia.

His death comes at a sensitive time for Kosovo, which is about to start negotiations about whether it should remain part of Serbia or become an independent state.

The province's ethnic Albanian majority wants full independence, but Serbs want Kosovo to remain part of Serbia- Montenegro, the union that replaced Yugoslavia.

The first formal UN-mediated talks between delegations from Kosovo and Serbia were due to take place on 25 January in Vienna.

However, the UN's special envoy to Kosovo, Martti Ahtisaari, has postponed the talks until February due to the official period of mourning that will now be observed in Kosovo for Rugova.

EU, UN Call for Unity in Kosovo After Rugova's Death

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana called on the leaders of Kosovo to show "unity and responsibility" following the death Saturday of the province's president, Ibrahim Rugova.

"The loss of President Rugova comes at a particularly challenging time," Solana said in a statement. "His wisdom and authority will be greatly missed. At this difficult moment I call on all leaders of Kosovo to show unity and responsibility."

Rugova, who became president in March 2002, died Saturday of lung cancer, aged 61, only days ahead of the start of talks Wednesday in Vienna on the final status of the province.

While the ethnic Albanians, representing 90 percent of the population, are demanding independence, Belgrade is only offering broad autonomy for Kosovo. The province has been run by the UN and NATO since June 1999 when the alliance's air strikes led Serbian forces under then Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw from the province.

The talks have now been postponed until February, UN officials said.

But UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said he believed Rugova's death "will not disrupt this process."

French President Jacques Chirac urged Kosovo's representatives to continue the negotiations in Rugova's "spirit of realism, tolerance and dialogue."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Rugova's commitment to nonviolence and democracy should be "a legacy for all those who carry political responsibility in Kosovo."

Rugova crucial to peace talks

The leadership of the charismatic Kosovo leader, who was called the "Gandhi of the Balkan," was considered crucial for the UN-mediated negotiations.

"With him Kosovo has lost a historic leader who devoted his life to protecting and promoting the rights of the people of Kosovo," Solana said. "President Rugova was a man of peace, firm in the face of oppression, but deeply committed to the ideals of non-violence."

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, also paid tribute to Rugova, saying in a statement that it "appreciated his work for a peaceful solution to the problems of Kosovo, and encourages all leaders to continue to work in this spirit."

A "tragic moment" for Kosovo

Bildunterschrift: GroÃŞansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Martti Ahtisaari

The United Nations chief mediator in Kosovo, Martti Ahtisaari, meanwhile offered his "deepest condolences" to Rugova's family and also called for "calm" and continued negotiations in the province.

"I'm certain that President Rugova would have liked to see that we will proceed with status negotiations so that results can be achieved," Ahtisaari, a former Finnish president and veteran peace broker, told a news conference in Helsinki. "I also express the hope that the situation will remain calm and that the constitution will be honored."

The UN's mission chief in Kosovo said that Rugova's death çame at a "tragic moment" for the province.

"It is particularly tragic that president Rugova should leave us in this very decisive moment for the future of Kosovo," said Soren Jessen-Petersen in a statement. "The best tribute that we can pay to president Rugova and his legacy is to stay united during the coming months."

Rugova's death opens the difficult issue of finding a replacement

Many analysts believe none of Rugova's likely successors possess enough of the diplomatic acumen that he had on the world stage in the ethnic Albanian push for independence from Serbia.

Rugova's death would make "the situation more fragile because the other leaders ... have no support from their parties to take the president's throne," local political analyst Nexhmedin Spahiu recently told AFP news service.

"I think we will have an unpredictable phase after Rugova but no unrest," Spahiu said. "It may bring a new quality -- a mechanism to clean up the political scene and establish a clear procedure for changing people in power.


  • Postime: 27102
  • Karma: +11/-5
  • Gjinia: Mashkull

#1 ne: 26-01-2006, 18:41:51
 A Short Biography

Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, leader of the Democratic League of Kosova (LDK), was elected President of Kosova in a session of the Parliament of Kosova held in Prishtina on Monday.

Following is a short biography:

Ibrahim Rugova was born on 02 December 1944 at the Cerrcë village, municipality of Istog, in Kosova.

On 10 January 1945, Yugoslav Communists summarily executed his father, Ukë Rugova, and his grandfather, Rrustë Rugova.

Ibrahim Rugova finished secondary schooling in Peja in 1967. He graduated at the Faculty of Philosophy - Department of Albanian Studies - of the University of Prishtina in 1971. Mr. Rugova spent an academic year (1976-77) in Paris at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes under the supervision of Prof. Roland Barthes, pursuing his scholarly interests in the study of literature, focussing on literary theory.

Ibrahim Rugova earned his Ph.D. degree in literature in 1984 at the University of Prishtina.

In 1996, Dr. Rugova was elected a correspondent member of the Kosova Academy of Arts and Sciences, the top Kosovar institution of scholarship and science.

Author of ten books (see below), Dr. Ibrahim Rugova was initially an editor with the Prishtina-based students' newspaper Bota e re (New World) and the magazine Dituria (Knowledge, 1971-72). After that, for almost two decades, Dr. Rugova was with the Institute for Albanian Studies in Prishtina, initially as a junior, later as a senior research fellow in literature. He served some time as an editor-in-chief of the Institute's periodical Gjurmime albanologjike (Albanian Research).

Dr. Rugova was elected president of the Kosova Writers Association in 1988, which was to prove as a strong nucleus of the mounting Albanian opposition movement to the Serbian/Yugoslav Communist rule in Kosova.

As an outspoken intellectual, Dr. Rugova was on 23 December 1989 elected president of the Democratic League of Kosova (LDK), the first political party in Kosova to directly challenge the ruling Communist regime. The LDK became soon the leading political force in Kosova, as it assembled the vast majority of the people, although other parties and groupings emerged in the meantime.

Under the leadership of Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, the LDK - in cooperation with other Albanian political forces in Kosova and in the former Yugoslavia, as well as the Assembly of Kosova - completed the legal framework for the institutionalizatio n of the independence of Kosova. The Declaration of Independence (2 July 1990), the proclamation of Kosova as a republic and the adoption of its constitution (7 September 1990), the national referendum on Kosova's independence and sovereignty conducted in late September 1991, were a prelude to the first multiparty parliamentary and presidential elections in the Republic of Kosova held on 24 May 1992. The LDK won a sweeping majority of seats in the Parliament in which three other parties were represented, whereas Dr. Ibrahim Rugova was elected President of the Republic of Kosova with an overwhelming majority of votes.

Dr. Ibrahim Rugova was re-elected President of the Republic of Kosova in the elections held in March 1998. His party, LDK won most of the seats in the Parliament of the Republic that year.

The LDK won 58% of the vote in the internationally-sponsored local elections in post-war Kosova in October 2000.

Dr. Rugova is married and has three children.

International Awards
In 1995, Dr. Rugova was granted the peace award of the Paul Litzer Foundation in Denmark.
In 1996, Ibrahim Rugova was conferred the Honoris Causa degree by the University of Paris VIII – Sorbonne, France.
In 1998, Rugova was awarded the Sakharov Prize by the European Parliament for his peaceful policies.
In the year 1999, Rugova was granted the peace award of the city of Münster, Germany, and proclaimed honorary citizen of Venice, Milan, and Brecscia, Italy, respectively.
In the year 2000, Dr. Rugova was granted the Peace Prize of the Democratic Union of Catalonia "Manuel Carrasco i Formiguera", in Barcelona, Spain.
As leader of Kosova in the last decade, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova met the foremost Western leaders, including US President Bill Clinton, French President Jacques Chirac, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Spanish Prime Minister Asnar, Italian Prime Minister D'Alema, the Holy Father John Paul II, and others.

Temat e fundit